Robin (Erithacus rubecula) performing its role as an insect predator. Credit: Tony Cox/WTML

Trait choice affects our ability to detect patterns in community dynamics of functionally important birds

Hordley, Lisbeth; Gillings, Simon; Petchey, Owen; Tobias, Joseph; Oliver, Thomas Species vary widely in their ecological and functional traits. Ecosystems containing a wide variety of different traits usually function better and provide more ecosystem services to humans than more homogeneous ecosystems. However, the choice of traits selected to represent diversity within a community can affect our ability to understand ecosystem processes. Some traits – called … Continue reading Trait choice affects our ability to detect patterns in community dynamics of functionally important birds

Flight of snow buntings during winter at Rimouski (Québec). Photo credit : Audrey Le Pogam

An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold

Le Pogam, Audrey; O’Connor, Ryan; Love, Oliver; Petit, Magali; Régimbald, Lyette; Vézina, François conditions by increasing their fat store and the mass of their flight muscles. These changes can increase their cold endurance through the production of more heat via shivering. However, birds also increase their fat stores and flight muscle size to provide fuel and  muscle force for long migratory flights. Given the similar … Continue reading An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold

Zebra finch illustration by Ilse Schrauwers (https://isontwerp.nl)

We need more energy as we age

Briga, Michael ; Verhulst, Simon In humans and in wild mammals and birds, the functioning of our bodies declines with age. Understanding how our organisms age and how this ageing associates with lifespan is crucial for improving our quality of life and lifespan. Our rate of energy consumption or metabolism determines many aspects of our activity, physiology, behaviour and personality. We know that in mammals … Continue reading We need more energy as we age